SNL Stars' Dream for Staten Island Ferry Comes to Fruition

Vessel purchased by Pete Davidson, Colin Jost to be made into $34M floating entertainment mecca
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2022 1:05 PM CST
Updated Mar 30, 2024 7:45 AM CDT
Pete Davidson Just Bought a Staten Island Ferry
Comedian Pete Davidson, right, and his sister, Casey Davidson, are seen at an NBA game between the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks on Nov. 30, 2021, in New York.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
UPDATE Mar 30, 2024 7:45 AM CDT

For two years, the Staten Island Ferry has been floating aimlessly, waiting for owners Pete Davidson and Colin Jost to decide what to do with it. Now, a plan: Per The Hollywood Reporter, the SNL stars will put the 65,000-square-foot, nearly 300-foot-long vessel through a $34 million renovation to turn it into a traveling hotel, with various venues on board. Architect Ron Castellano, another partner in the project, tells Curbed the finished boat will feature 24 hotel rooms with private sundecks, as well as two eateries, six bars, and outdoor event space. He says Davidson and Jost "have input" and "see everything" on the project, and that the ferry will travel to various ports, including New York and Miami. "We aren't fixing up the engine," he notes. "We plan to tow it between locations." Construction hasn't yet begun, and it's not yet clear when the renovation is set to be complete.

Jan 21, 2022 1:05 PM CST

Pete Davidson is making headlines again, but this time it doesn't involve Kim Kardashian. Instead, it's about a big purchase the Saturday Night Live comic has made, along with fellow SNLer Colin Jost and real estate agent/comedy club co-founder Paul Italia: a decommissioned 277-foot-long Staten Island ferry, for which they paid just over $280,000, Italia tells NBC News. The three investors plan on using the John F. Kennedy as a live entertainment venue.

Davidson and Jost, who are both from Staten Island, and Italia scooped up the vessel at a weeklong auction that began Jan. 12, per the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services. As of Tuesday morning, no one had yet placed a winning bid on the ferry, commissioned in 1965 and decommissioned recently due to mechanical problems, per the DCAS. But by Wednesday evening, the department had an update. "SOLD: $280,100," it tweeted. "The rest of you will not be owning a Staten Island Ferry boat. Sorry."

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"The idea is to turn the space into a live entertainment event space, with comedy, music, art, et cetera," Italia, who co-founded The Stand comedy club, tells the New York Post. "We're in the early stages, but everybody involved had the same ambition—not to see this thing go to the scrapyard." Before it was retired last summer, the John F. Kennedy was the oldest boat in the Staten Island fleet, reports NY1. Davidson and Jost have 10 days from this coming Wednesday to somehow retrieve the boat from a DCAS terminal. Italia says they'll use a tugboat to drag the ferry to a nearby shipyard. (More Pete Davidson stories.)

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